Drone delivery is becoming a popular topic within logistics. As the final leg of delivery, Amazon and others are working on ways to operationalize drone delivery as part of their operations. At this point drones can delivery payloads of up to 5 or so pounds at speeds of up to 50 MPH. While 5 lbs may not sound like much weight, as an final leg of the delivery these shipments account for about 86% of the shipments. This means that the technical aspects of drone delivery are not fare from being finalized.
What becomes more challenging are the regulatory issues to be figured out. From line of site requirements, which makes drone delivery impractical, to local ordinances as well as figuring out the “hand off” to the end customers, drone delivery obstacles go beyond the technical aspects.
The average travel distance for drones is 15 miles round trip. Obviously this puts most people outside the delivery distance for Amazon. Wal-Mart however has a store with about 5 miles of most homes.
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This video shows google’s drone delivery project.